Sunday, March 2, 2008

I'm scared and angry too.

And I really don't know where to start, so please forgive me if I ramble....
DH is still very depressed. He's been spending all his time in bed again, and Jim has gone to visit some relatives for a couple of weeks, so there's nothing to interest him at all.

He went to Spenders yesterday, but it didn't seem to perk him up like it usually did. I was inches away from paying the DirecTV bill and getting the TV going again, I had the phone in my hand and then I didn't. I'll pay the bill this week, but I won't resume service. But you know, it's not as helpful as we were thinking in the first place (having no DirecTV), either, because now instead of laying in there and watching TV all day, he's watching movies all day. Ones that he's seen oodles of times. And he's not doing anything in the house to help again, so the laundry's piling up and the floor needs mopped, and all that....and I think I mentioned all the garbage in the yard....he doesn't ever bother to walk to the garbage can any more, why should he when he can just throw his garbage on the ground :-(

And I found out that yesterday, when he was complaining about his back hurting so bad? Well, DD told me that "he went to the hospital, but it was too busy, so he went home." He hasn't done this hospital stuff for almost a year now and I'm getting worried that things are going backwards instead of forwards. And I still don't know who to talk to. That's one of the awful things about a small town, there's not as many resources as you might want sometimes. I haven't let on to DH that I know he went to the hospital again, because apparently I'm not supposed to know (or he would've told me).

The first couple of times last year, when he went to the hospital for his back pain, I was very very worried. After all, for a person to go to the Emergency Room on a Saturday or a Sunday, well, that means they're in trouble, right? But there was a period of about three months, from January to March, where he went to the E.R. every single weekend. I know the doctors thought he was going there to get "drugged up", and I suspect at some point, that's what it became. And now the hospital thing just makes me angry. And he knows that our insurance is a lot worse than it was last year. Oh, I don't know...mental illness doesn't make sense.....

I called that case manager person again, still no call back. But that doesn't really matter, because DH is supposed to be going to the eye doctor and won't call them back, and also, the hospital gave his name to "The Spine Center", but he won't call them back either. I'm giving serious consideration again to looking into what I would have to do to become his guardian, so that I can take care of things he isn't getting around to, like the bankruptcy, and a ton of other stuff....

So, aside from being scared that he might be heading towards another hospitalization, what am I scared of? It almost hurts me to tell you. It's kind of related to yesterday's post, but anyhow, in a nutshell, I'm afraid I'm losing my feelings for him and my respect for him has been gone for ages. I'm afraid I don't love him. And I feel like my whole life has started to revolve around how miserable he is. I've been here all along. I love him, right?

I keep saying I do. But in all reality? With things looking like a repeat of last year, I'm finding it so very hard to be sympathetic. I just don't want to hear his complaints and self-pity, because he never does anything to change things at all. I really really wish he'd find some kind of fault in me and leave to go live with his mom or something. But I know that won't happen. And I think about the bankruptcy case--you know, he hasn't done any of the follow-up stuff on that, so I'm going to have to give him another ultimatum to get that to move a few inches again. And the job hunting. I was in the next town over and picked up an application from McDonalds for him, he seemed excited that I got it, but that was all. And I think about all these bills and the fact that I am going to have to work my *** off for at least the next year just to break even, I get resentful.

And when I go to work he's in bed. And when I get home he's in bed. And every once in a while, he goes out to have a smoke and comes back to bed. But I can't say anything because absolutely anything I say will be construed as "he's a worthless piece of sh** and doesn't deserve to live."
And it just makes me SICK to see him lying there in bed, day after day. I don't even want to lie there next to him, that's how strong the repulsion is.

I feel like all of my dreams have been stolen from me. And I'm angry because it sounds like he's had some mental health issues in the past that nobody else recognized, but they were there, nonetheless. And I married him thinking he was very healthy, hard working, considerate, and very organized. I sometimes question whether I had my rose-colored glasses on when I married him, and maybe I didn't see all this, but it was there. And I know that wasn't the truth, because he had a good job, he made friends everywhere, and all the people from work always wanted to come over. And DD's therapist has known us both since DD became a part of our lives, and she also believes that it was "something that pushed him over the edge". And when I think about that, I'm comforted a little. Absolutely not one person who knows what's going on has told me "I saw this coming." or "You should've known better."

But I look at all the things I love, and I don't have time for any of them any more. My leisure time is a couple of quick pages read before I fall asleep. And today, even though DH was there and had been in bed all night, it was still me that had to get up, two hours after I got home from work and into bed, so that DD could go to her church group outing. And everything else that got done today. And then I went shopping for my mom (again) and filled up her (my mom's) pills.

And I gave DD $20 for the snow tubing outing for church. It was $15 for the snow tubing, and $5 for fast food on the way home. And when DH realized that I gave DD money, he wanted some too, and he got all pouty and did the "you don't care about me" when I told him I gave him $20 yesterday (he already spent it on his way to Spenders.) And I really wanted to tell him that I had no reason to care.

I know (I hope) that I still love him somehow. But I feel so trapped tonite, and you know, even if I wanted to leave, I couldn't, because I've got all of my animals, and I couldn't just up and leave them....and oh...there's so many things....what I would give to just have a normal husband, one who, when I had a bad day, wasn't so wrapped up in himself where he couldn't even listen to me....someone who, well, someone who's like DH was before...he really was the man of my dreams. And that's not an exaggeration. He had a good work ethic, he was very organized about his money, he volunteered to lead our county's Sheriff's Reserve, he called me at work just to tell me he was thinking of me....and you know what? Tonite I feel like I was a victim of one of those "Bait and Switch" sales, where they advertise something wonderful for a good price, and then when you get there, they're "out" of that thing, but they convince you to buy something that you don't really want anyhow....I got ripped off. And I hope I feel better tomorrow.

There's a little plaque in our house that says "People need love the most when they deserve it the least." I had gotten it as a reminder to me that when DD misbehaves, it's not because she doesn't care, but that she has deeper seeded issues. I keep reminding myself of that and the mad part of me says "I don't care."

Maybe it's just PMS or something, I hope. And maybe it's not necessarily a lack of love, as much as it is an overabundance of resentment.


Anonymous said...

Dear Carol,

I know just how you feel - when my brother came to live weith us, it was care/pity and I wanted him to get his life on track. But 18 months later on, of being used and abused, stolen from and lied to - it has slid to apathy and now hatred.

I just want to cut him out of my life forever and leave him to reap what he sows. Because I truly believe god helps those who help themselves and he is NOT going to drag me/my mother/other brother down to his level, as much as he wants to.

*virtual hugs*

Anonymous said...

Found you through another bloggers site...she comments on mine and I on hers a lot. I just don't want everyone else who lurks to know who I am. I would even be happy to email you...
BUT I wanted to tell you that this past week I went through the EXACT same situation! It was aweful! I threatened my DH to take him and admit him to the psych ward. It was THAT bad. He is on cymbalta...a newer drug. They added welbutrin to it and not even 24 hours he was almost 100% better. Our Dr says there is new research and that linking meds together is so helpful. He of course is only on one week later. he still feels depressed a bit but these drugs take up to 4 weeks to see true results. It is sooooooo hard to be patient...but I wanted to let you know you are NOT alone!!! We are still dealing with it. I would suggest taking him to the DR to get on cymbalta...pretty good stuff...try what we did with the other one on top of it if the cymbalta is not working alone. He NEEDS to be on meds it sounds. It is NOT you sweetie! I was laughing at your "Maybe I am PMSing" remark! LOL.....don't we wish!

I am here for you and if you post an email I will send you an email. It makes it easier when we wives deal with this as a team effort! Married to Depression has LOADS of info on her site...I would suggest you read up as I have. It totally helps!

Keep us posted and look for my email :)

Iris said...

Everything you are feeling is normal and healthy. One day you were a wife with a loving considerate partner and now suddenly you are full-time care-giver to someone who is depressed, unstable, and lacks what seems to be any semblance of reason. None of this is your fault. It is doubtful that you could have seen this coming, and probable that no one else could have either. Mental illness can manifest very suddenly, and for some reason I've noticed that in men this seems to happen in the late 20's to mid 30's. It is devastating.

I have no doubt that you love your husband very much. The problem is that your husband is no longer available to you because of this disease, and he has been replaced by someone who can do nothing to help himself and seems to do everything in his power to make your life more difficult. It is very hard, if not impossible, to separate DH from his illness, and as a sad consequence, even harder to separate your feelings for the old DH from your feelings for this new person. There is so much that you are going through right now. You are taking care of everything, and you have so much grief to process - grief for him, for your relationship together, for yourself. I know that it is overwhelming.

Everything I say is from my own experience, so, as usual, take what helps you and leave what you do not need or want right now. I have two somewhat contradictory things to say. The first is that loving DH and wanting to stay true to the promise of marriage are very strong forces, but you should not allow those duties and obligations to make this decision for you - the decision to leave or stay, that is. There is a lot at stake when you take on the responsibility of caring for someone with severe bipolar disorder - your safety, your sanity, your finances, your happiness, your daughter's childhood and upbringing and her future happiness and stability. These are things that it is good to be protective of. I know that you are a selfless, giving person, but there is a limit to selflessness - a real breaking point - and it is important to preserve that kernel of "you" in all of this, no matter what you choose. You are just as deserving of love and care as DH, and of course, DD is as well. Life is brutally short and the things that you do now affect who you will be and how you will live later. I firmly believe that DH has very little control over his actions or personality right now (and may never again regain that control), and that he is not to blame in this, but that does not change the harsh truth of the situation. You are suffering, and you are suffering terribly. Sometimes "why" something happens is not nearly as important as the fact that it is happening. After a point, knowing the reasons doesn't really help or matter. It just is. And it is bad. That is what you are left to deal with. There is no shame in extracting yourself from this situation. I would argue that it takes a lot of bravery. It is very hard when you love someone and feel obligated to them, and are occasionally able to get reason and compassion from them - tiny glimmers of hope. But if you do choose to go, know that the things you are leaving for are worth leaving for - you and DD can come through all of this and live meaningful, happy, healthy lives - that alone is worth almost anything.

This is a decision that you will likely make and re-make many times. You will likely stay as a default position, but not truly mentally commit to staying for quite a while, if you do decide to stay. It's such a monumental decision emotionally that I think it's nearly impossible to make in a short time. You will probably waffle back and forth for a while and be angry at yourself for doing so. Don't be. It's just a testament to the difficulty of the situation and the goodness that is in you - you have so much capacity to care that it will be hard for you to decide what needs caring for most. Honor that, and be easy on yourself.

If you decide to be DH's care-taker for the rest of his life (or yours), you are taking on a situation much like taking on a very troubled child at a later stage in childhood. You have to be the love-giver and go into it not expecting to receive anything in return - knowing that there is a chance that you won't often get love in return, let alone cooperation, companionship, help, or any of the things that one (rightly) expects from a marriage. Making the choice to stay with DH is not the same thing as choosing to stay with your husband. It is more like making the choice to stay with the body of your husband, which is hosting a man with severe bipolar disorder. I believe that to have any chance of "success" (and that could mean a variety of things, most much less than the restoration of the husband that you know and love) you will have to compartmentalize everything, and find a way to have your emotional needs met without DH, while still retaining the compassion that it takes to care for him. For the next long while, and possibly permanently, DH's role in life is that of patient. He will need to be cared for and respected as a patient just as much as you will need all the many other normal things that we've talked about. If you take care of him, your charge is to find a way to do that which is beneficial to both of you. DH truly does see himself as "a piece of sh*t" and as crappy as he acts, he needs to be in an environment where he can feel good about himself. (This is why Spenders works - no one judges him because they have all done the same things.) I'm not saying he should be given free reign to do what he wants - I actually think that he should be firmly monitored and given very little opportunity to make decisions - but he shouldn't be made to feel bad when he does the wrong thing, because it will just cause him to spiral further. He needs a safe, supportive environment, where the daily goals are set low - say shower, get dressed, go for a walk (keep a schedule) - and praise is high when those things get accomplished. Really do think in terms of a child - there are certain opportunities that children shouldn't get at an early age (like DD going to a dance unchaperoned) because although a healthy adult could easily handle those situations, a child or a person with bipolar can't - they will be set up to fail with more responsibility than they can handle. DH isn't able to throw candy wrappers in the trash rather than the yard with this disease - why should he be expected to spend $20 responsibly? If you keep the $20, that's $20 more dollars of bills that get paid and 10 fewer liters of pop that get consumed (by someone who can't handle that kind of imbalance in their diet anyway).

I'm rambling, but what I'm trying to urge is that if you do this, know what it means, take it on by choice, make emotional space for yourself, and do what is really best for DH - as the patient he is, rather than as the husband he was. I know that some of that may sound really harsh. Please know that it isn't intended that way. Hopefully, like me, you can find some liberation in there, too. This really is a choice and not something you have to do, and whether you decide to stay or go, it will ease your mind to make an informed decision that you can embrace. Having some control over the situation will help you. Through no fault of your own you have been terribly victimized by this situation, but from here forward you don't have to be, no matter what you decide. You just have to choose what is best for you.

Sending support, strength, healthiness and good thoughts your way,